Early Monday afternoon, Kushner walked by himself from the West Wing to a microphone set up outside, where several dozen members of the press were assembled. He started by introducing himself, even though everyone assembled surely knew who he was, and reflected on how working in the White House has been the “honor and the privilege of a lifetime.” Kushner, who rarely makes public statements, added that he has tried to stay out of the spotlight.
Kushner said that ever since questions were raised in March about his possible connections to Russia, he has been “consistent in saying that I was eager to share any information I have with the investigating bodies” and that he had done so in meeting behind closed doors with the Senate Intelligence Committee to answer questions about his contact with Russian officials. He said that he voluntarily provided records and documents to the committee that show “all of my actions were proper and occurred in the normal course of events of a very unique campaign.” After reading his brief statement, Kushner walked back into the White House without taking questions, ignoring several that were shouted at him. The whole event lasted less than three minutes.
Ahead of the meeting Monday morning with senators, Kushner released an 11-page statement that he planned to submit for the record. In that statement, Kushner denied any improper contacts or collusion and detailed four meetings he had with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign and transition period, including one set up by Donald Trump Jr. with a Russian lawyer. Kushner also defended his interactions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and other Russian officials as typical contacts in his role as the Trump campaign’s liaison to foreign governments. Kushner is also expected to meet privately with members of the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.
“I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government,” Kushner wrote in the statement. “I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds to finance my business activities in the private sector.”
Both panels are probing Russian interference in the 2016 election and contacts between Russia and Trump campaign officials and associates. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the Russian government orchestrated a far-reaching campaign to meddle with last year’s presidential campaign and influence the outcome in Trump’s favor. Kushner’s appearances before congressional committees mark a new phase in the investigations of Russian meddling, as he is the first of the president’s closest advisers to appear before them.
Philip Rucker and Karoun Demirjian contributed to this report.